“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” Acts 20:27
A pastor friend of my husbands shared the following letter which he received from a man in his church. I really appreciate the spirit of this letter. The Bible makes mention in the book of Romans of “the goodness and severity of God”. I believe if we are really going to live the way God wants us to live, we need to have an understanding of both. God is not only a God of love, but He is also a God of justice and judgment. I’m thankful to have known some ministers that like the apostle Paul have not been negligent or fearful to declare all the counsel of God. May the Lord raise up more men like this in these last days.
Preach to me no more sermons on God’s love, unless it is accompanied by a message of His holiness. Preach to me no more sermons of His amazing grace without mentioning from what His grace saves me. Preach to me no more sermons of my Lord’s mercy except it be contrasted with what He would otherwise be just and righteous to do.
I cannot understand this God of love without hearing of His many other characteristics. My God is wonderfully complex, but He has been reduced to a god of mere sentiment and romance, which god has no power to save. Explain to me the wrathful God of the Old Testament. Acquaint me with His jealousy; why is His Name Jealous? When God says He “hates,” tell me what is it He despises? Show me His anger in full that I might know the object of this anger and avoid it in my own life. Don’t down play and trivialize His anger, I know He doesn’t change.
Show me the horrors of hell that I might truly prize my salvation and seek to share Him with others. Teach me to be hopeful of Judgment Day but to share with those whom are lost they should greatly fear it. Declare God’s holy commandments that I might have a portrait of His purity and holiness and conversely, that I might know what sin is. Proclaim to me my sin—that I lie, that I cheat, that I hate and covet. Tell me of my helplessness to keep said commandments that you might impress upon me my dire need of a Savior.
Once I have a grasp of the abomination of sin, then and only then, show me my Savior! When I fully comprehend the depth and breadth of my personal sin, my original sin, my self-righteousness and my unbelief, then the Gospel will really be Good News! When I realize my nakedness before God, my utter bankruptcy with respect to sin, I might esteem my deliverance utterly. Pastor, teach me the meaning of repentance, that I might truly be forgiven. Show me true humility that I might know its semblance.
Declare to me the offense of the cross and expound upon its meaning. Tell me, Pastor, why does it offend? Don’t merely tell me this is God’s love; help me to see His perfect justice in this Event. Describe for me also the representation of His holiness and righteousness at Calvary. Explain to me that this is what I have escaped through a life laid down for Christ; that this is the hell I deserved and instead Jesus took the punishment. Tell me that on that day, He became sin for sinners.
Then permit me to see by example how to live for this beautiful Savior. Help me to see in you the life of the redeemed. Show me your love for the lost; teach me likewise how to pour out my heart for them.
Then finally, tell me of God’s wonderful love for me. Then I think I will really understand “how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Then I know I will understand. Then I will be truly in His loving grip.